Today in Coast Guard History – March 29th

  • 1867-The lighthouse at Timbalier Bay was destroyed in a hurricane. The brick tower “was leveled to the ground and covered with from three to six feet of water.” The Lighthouse Board commended the keepers, “who faithfully performed their duty, barely escaping with their lives, and living for some days in an iron can buoy . . .”
  • 1898- Lieutenants David Jarvis and Ellsworth P. Bertholf and Surgeon Dr. Samuel J. Call of the USRC Bear reached Point Barrow, Alaska, after a 2,000 mile “mush” from Nunivak Island that first started on 17 December 1897, driving reindeer as food for 97 starving whalers caught in the Arctic ice. This “Overland Rescue” was heralded by the press and at the request of President William McKinley, Congress issued special gold medals in their honor.
  • 1938- By an Executive Order of this date, President Franklin Roosevelt enlarged substantially the number of “personnel in the Lighthouse Service who are subject to the principle of the civil service,” which allowed advancement in the Service solely on individual merit.
  • 1984-Coast Guard AIRSTA Cape May and Group Cape May responded to severe flooding in southern New Jersey and Delaware after a late winter storm struck the area on 29 March 1984. Coast Guardsmen evacuated 149 civilians from Cape May and Atlantic City.
  • 1985- The Nantucket I was decommissioned, the last lightship in service with the Coast Guard. This ended 164 years of continuous lightship service by the Government. Nantucket I was the last of the U.S. lightships and the last of the Nantucket Shoals lightships that watched over that specific area since June of 1854. Launched as WLV-612 in 1950 at Baltimore, the ship has stood watch as the light vessel for San Francisco and Blunts Reef in California, at Portland, Oregon, and finally at Nantucket Shoals. The CGC Nantucket I also served as a “less-than-speedy” law enforcement vessel off Florida for a time.

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